Monday, August 10, 2020

July/August 2020 PPCC Agronomy Blog


We hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far this year. As much as you can enjoy it, given the current pandemic and changes to all our lives.


We are having a wonderful transition so far this year. We are very pleased with the health of the Bermuda grass. We have a couple of trouble spots due to shade or high foot and/or cart traffic but many of them are filling in nicely. We are working hard to encourage a natural recovering. We are currently on track to not lay any or very little sod to repair the golf course from this past season's overseed.


We are very happy with the green’s health at this point in the summer. While it has been a fairly hot summer it has also been very dry. The lack of humidity and high dew points has helped with keeping the greens in good health. While green speeds are not as fast as in the fall and spring, we are keeping them slower for health reasons. We do not want to increase the chances of loss during the hot weather months.


As you have probably noticed the ball marks are getting numerous and are slow to recover. The high air and soil temps have now triggered the bentgrass to go into a pattern of self-preservation. Ideal soil temperatures for bent are 50-65 degrees we have experienced temperatures consistently in the 90 for 6 weeks now. This constant stress has shrunk the root length and structure and will continue until September night temperatures begin to cool. While bentgrass can survive these conditions, it does not grow or recover very well. The constant stress leads to root loss and leaf tissue decline which becomes apparent in August and is a delayed response to the root loss experienced in July. Most, if not all, of the plant’s energy has gone into maintaining the existing roots and leaf tissue. This is the opposite effect of what happens in the spring when the greens are growing vigorously and get very firm before we aerify in May. Simply put, the plant health gains in the spring need to outweigh the losses in the summer as it relates to root and leaf growth. Regardless of how healthy we are headed into summer there will be an unrealized loss in leaf tissue density during August and you can expect to experience softening conditions through August and into September before the growing weather switches back in our favor. The softening is due to the decline in density and less roots and leaves to support the impact of a golf ball.


In the meantime, you may have noticed green sand being placed in ball marks. We are using a sand/bentgrass seed mix to help fill the depressed ball marks that are not filling in. We hope to aid the recovery and/or fill in with new grass. We also want to smooth the ball mark to help keep the putting surface from being affected. We use this same method during overseeding to repair the ball marks from summer damage and tried it this summer for the first time. We have seen good results and will continue this practice.


Below is a link to a USGA video and articles that also explains summer stress management and green speeds


You may have also noticed the yellow ring around the green. Once again, we are using an herbicide that helps to significantly suppress the Bermuda grass from encroaching into the bentgrass collars. The Bermuda grass will inevitably encroach, but we are slowing it down and extending the life of the collars with the herbicide.


So far, the bentgrass collars that were installed 2 years ago have given us the desired results. We are very pleased with their performance. We expect the bentgrass collars to be the long-term solution for the collars.


In July we once again closed the course for summer maintenance. We performed very heavy dethatching and aerification across the course. We were very happy with the results of the practices this year. We had a quick recovery with a little disruption to play.


Through the pandemic, the agronomy team has done a fantastic job maintaining the course as well as keeping each other safe. We implemented many changes to our operations to keep our members and staff safe. We appreciate the membership's support through these difficult times.


We wish everyone and their families a safe and healthy remainder of their summer and look forward to seeing everyone back this winter season.




PPCC Agronomy Team.





Ranger helping with drainage
Fransico helping change the drainage and liner on the outside of the greens

Heavy verticut in the fairways

Lots of debris generated from cultural practices - 20 roll-off dumpsters worth

More verticutging

Verticut with small hand machines next to the greens


Tuesday, April 21, 2020

We hope everyone and their families are doing well and staying safe. Obviously, much has changed since our last posting and we wanted to update you on our progress, changes, and plans as we move through these unprecedented times.
First, we have been taking as much caution as we can to protect the membership and employees alongside the precautions taken by the BOD. Steps taken to protect the employees have been:
  1. No more than 3 employees in the building at any given time to clock in, use the restroom, locker room, or kitchen facilities
  2. All employees to take lunch in the yard or surrounding area of the building spread out by 6 feet or more
  3. Employees keep possession of timecards instead of storing them in common area. 
  4. Nitrile safety gloves readily available to employees. We have since run out of disposable dust masks and have been unable to secure more.  We’ve provided instructions on how to make their own and we are currently working find some available masks.
  5. Each employee to sanitize equipment before and after use with provided sanitizer and disposable towels. Focus on steering wheels, keys, gas caps, arm rests, pull cords, handles of all hand equipment and small tools, etc.… 
  6. Supervisors sanitize touch points of building before shifts, after staff leaves building in the AM, after lunch, and after staff leaves for the day. I.e. door handles, faucets, soap and towel dispensers, light switch, air hoses, gas handles and hoses, etc.… 

Despite all of these changes, we continue to strive to provide the best possible golf course experience to our Members.

The change in operations have given us the opportunity to be efficient with our current staff in many different areas. The Monday closures and additional maintenance time have made it possible to get a majority our mowing and daily tasks completed to minimize disruption to players for the remainder of the week.

We have done some light vertictutting and spiking to the greens in recent weeks to aid with several things. First, we are trying to manage thatch levels. Second, we are making room for new healthier leaf tissue to grow and fill in leading into the difficult and hot summer months. Third, we are venting the greens and aiding in water penetration and air movement.

You may have noticed the greens are getting firmer. This is due to the new growth both in the green leaf tissue and root mass. As the day light gets longer, the air warms, and the cooler soil temperatures create great growing conditions for the bentgrass. The greens are currently packing in more and more leaf tissue and roots creating the firmer tighter conditions. It is important to take advantage of this growing window and create the healthiest plant possible leading into the difficult summer conditions.
The exact opposite will begin to happen in late June and through September. The bentgrass will decline during the unfavorable conditions of summer loosing leaf tissue and root mass. Typically, this condition will be realized by softer slowing conditions, usually by the first 2 weeks of August and continuing into September before they start grow and recover mid-September to November when more favorable weather returns.
Overall our goal is to always grow and create a healthy plant in the spring to ensure we do not have a net loss in leaf and roots during the summer leading to overall plant loss.

G&G is still on schedule to aerify the greens on May 4 & 5 to aid in the health of the greens. This will also relieve the compaction, firmness, and create additional room for new healthy growth.

G&G has also been doing some light verticutting in the fairways and approaches. This is done to help thin the ryegrass and allow the Bermuda to begin to emerge. Typically, we would not start this procedure until May but have been able to start a few weeks earlier with the Monday closures.

During the closure of the driving range we took advantage of the additional time to improve some areas. We raised and leveled all sprinkler heads on the tees. We edged and cleaned all irrigation heads on the floor. Added new sand to the floor bunkers and the practice bunker. Additional herbicides were also sprayed to help eradicate existing weeds and prevent summer weeds. In addition, we trimmed all the oleanders on the 10th tee, North tee, and South tee.

On April 20th we began the process to eliminate the Ryegrass overseed and begin the transition to our summer bermudagrass. This is 2 weeks earlier than we normally would have initiated this practice. Once again, due to the changes in operations we wanted take advantage of the allotted time and be more pro-active on the transition back to Bermuda grass. Our hope, weather cooperating, was to increase the Bermuda growing time and increase our success of a smooth and healthy transition with minimal disruption. The week of the application we will not mow for a few extra days to give the ryegrass additional exposed leaf tissue to uptake the product and ensure success. Please bear with us as things will be a little shaggy for a couple days. The product we use will take 6-8 weeks to fully remove the ryegrass. You will see the course go off color slightly in the first 7-10 days and then slightly green back up. From there it will be slow and subtle removal of the ryegrass into June.

In addition to the ryegrass removal, we began treating and attacking the existing poa. We use a post emerge selective herbicide this time of year to target the poa. Our goal is to eradicate the existing plant and inoculate the seed for future poa. While this will not eradicate the poa completely, our goal is to keep managing the poa population and reduce the population for next year and future overseeds. In addition, the use of pre-emerge herbicides, other post-emerge herbicides, and growth regulators are utilized throughout the year to pro-actively manage poa.

Since the removal of the sand bottles we have been sending staff out several times a week to fill divots in the tees and fairways. We try to perform the majority of the fairway divot filling on Mondays as it can be very difficult to perform this in play. We will continue to work to keep up with this process while sand bottles are not available.
We wish everyone and their families health and safety through this time. We thank everyone for their constant support of the club and its employees.


Green & Grounds Department

Great picture of #2 from this past winter the morning after a rain

Ranger hanging out

Jose spiking the greens

Close up of the spiking

Francisco verticutting after the spiking

Close up of the verticut and spike

Cleaing up with a mow behind the spiking and verticutting

Close up of the mow

Trimming the oleander #10 Tee